Friday, July 29, 2011

Dunaverty, Albion

Twenty year-old Archibald McNish Fraser arrived in Brisbane from his native Scotland in 1880, just in time for the boom time in the colony. He had served an apprenticeship in the building trade prior to emigrating, and so set himself up as a builder, then established a real estate business. Here is an advertisement he ran in the Brisbane Courier in June 1886:
GENTLEMEN in search of Desirable SITES for RESIDENCES will find it to their advantage to call on A. MᶜNISH FRASER, 149 Queen-street, next Finney, Isles, & Co.'s, upstairs. Beautiful Site at Sherwood, 10 acres, next the station. Oxley: Grand Site, 18 acres, fronting the river, next Mr. Collins's residence. Also magnificent Property of 5 acres, overlooking tho Racecourse, Eagle Farm, planted with Fruit Trees. Prices tempting. A. MᶜNISH FRASER will at any time drive intending purchasers to the above and others equally as good.
In 1887, he built his house "Dunaverty" in Albion. The house features fine detailing including a thistle motif in the iron fretwork and replicated in interior wood-work.

(Photos: "More Historic Homes of Brisbane", National Trust of Queensland & Ray Summer)
Fraser achieved considerable success in his business ventures, and remained at Dunaverty until the early 1890s. His firstborn, a son, was delivered at the house in March 1891. Fraser bought several allotments of land at the newly surveyed suburb of Yeronga in the same year, but whether he intended to move there is not known. Along with other entrepreneurs, Fraser was caught in the inevitable "bust" that followed the boom of the 1880s, and had to sell not only the Yeronga land but also the family home.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

Dunaverty still stands at Albion in Brisbane's near northern suburbs. After Fraser and his family left their home it was purchased by investors and remained a tenanted property for many years. Unfortunately, during a period when the house was vacant, a good deal of the interior cedar and iron-work was stolen.

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  1. Fraser might well have been proud of his origins or homesick or both. I have never seen the thistle motif in decorative ironwork before or in interior wood-work, but I have seen it in stained glass.

    Good on him. All migrants need to grasp firmly to what they have given up, as well as to look forward to the future in their new country.

  2. Fraser's life experiences included being an alderman on the local Council as well as being sued for bankruptcy!

  3. i lived in this house for several years in the 90's, it was amazing, but sadly falling apart...

  4. My great-grandparents owned this house from approx. 1914 to about the late 1970s. They were Juliet Allen (née MacDonald - that side of the family is related to Mary McKillop, Australia's first Saint) and Alexander Allen, who worked for the Post Office. So I don't think this article is quite accurate as it says that after Fraser sold it, it was bought by investors and tenanted out, but I think that must be referring to the time after my grandparents died.

    1. Hi Christine and thanks for your comment.

      I obtained the information for this piece from the pages of the Queensland Heritage Register:

      If you search for "Dunaverty" there you will find the following:
      "After the Fraser family moved out of Dunaverty, the house had new tenants almost every year. In 1912 Dunaverty was bought by William McGregor, when it was renamed "Carvarmore". Again it was not occupied by its owners until it was sold again in 1925. The south-east verandah may have been added around this time. Dunaverty changed hands several times until the current owners bought it in 1998."

      I suggest that you contact the Queensland Government if you have further information regarding this property.



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